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In re Poliquin

Supreme Court of Delaware

February 21, 2014

In the Matter of a Member of the Bar of the Supreme Court of the State of Delaware: RONALD G. POLIQUIN, Petitioner

Submitted February 5, 2014.

Case Closed March 11, 2014.

Editorial Note:

This decision has been designated as "Table of Decisions Without Published Opinions." in the Atlantic Reporter.

Board Case No. 108188-B.

Before HOLLAND, BERGER, and JACOBS, Justices.

OPINION

Carolyn Berger Justice.

ORDER

This 21st day of February 2014, it appears to the Court that Petitioner, Ronald G. Poliquin, has petitioned for reinstatement to the Delaware Bar. The Board on Professional Responsibility (the " Board" ), following hearings on August 21, 2013 and September 30, 2013, has filed a Report on this matter pursuant to Rule 9(d) of the Delaware Lawyers' Rules of Disciplinary Procedure. The Office of Disciplinary Counsel (" ODC" ) approved the December 16, 2013 Report of the Board. Petitioner, through counsel, filed objections to the Board's Report, and the ODC has responded to those objections.

This Court has the " inherent and exclusive authority to discipline members of the Delaware Bar." [1] Although Board recommendations are helpful, we are not bound by those recommendations.[2] We review the record independently to determine whether there is substantial evidence to support the Board's factual findings.[3] We review the Board's conclusions of law de novo .[4]

In a reinstatement proceeding, the petitioner has the burden of proving, by clear and convincing evidence, that he meets the eight requirements for reinstatement.[5] Although it is clear that Petitioner has made substantial progress since he began to address his addiction in 2011,[6] the Board's factual findings are supported by substantial evidence.

The Court recognizes that the outcome of the reinstatement proceedings is of great importance to Petitioner. However, after considering the evidence presented, the Board concluded that Petitioner had not demonstrated by clear and convincing evidence (i) that he is professionally rehabilitated, (ii) that he is fit to practice, (iii) that he has not engaged in any other professional misconduct, and (iv) that his readmission would not be detrimental to the administration of justice.[7] Finally, given its findings that Petitioner has not sufficiently overcome his performance-related issues, the Board concluded that Petitioner's reinstatement would be prejudicial to the administration of justice.[8] We agree.

The Court has reviewed the matter pursuant to Rule 22(h) of The Delaware Lawyers' Rules of Disciplinary Procedure and concludes the Board's Report should be approved.

NOW, THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED that the Report filed by the Board on Professional Responsibility on December 16, 2013 (copy attached) is hereby APPROVED;

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Petitioner Ronald G. Poliquin's Petition for Reinstatement is DISMISSED;

1. During the period of suspension, Respondent must fully cooperate with the ODC in its efforts to monitor his compliance with the suspension order;
2. Petitioner must remain active with DELAP and submit to any drug or alcohol testing deemed appropriate by and at the direction of the Executive Director of DELAP. The Executive Director of DELAP shall have the discretion to report to the ODC as she deems appropriate.
3. As reinstatement is not automatic, should Respondent apply for reinstatement, any such application must be made pursuant to Rule 22 of the Delaware Lawyer's Rules of Disciplinary Procedure following the suspension period;
4. Petitioner must reimburse the ODC for the costs of this proceeding and
5. This Order shall be disseminated by the ODC as provided in Rule 14 of the Delaware Lawyers' Rules of Disciplinary Procedure.

The matter is hereby DISMISSED.

REPORT OF THE BOARD ON PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY

December 16, 2013

Dear Ms. Aaronson and Mr. Beauregard:

Enclosed please find the Report of the Board in the above-referenced matter.

Very truly yours,

Lisa A. Schmidt

REPORT OF THE BOARD PURSUANT TO RULE ...


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